Welcome to this week’s Blog from the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m the senior pastor, Lee Harder, wishing you God’s blessings and joy. I would also like to invite you to visit us this Sunday for worship on our campus or via our church web page at redroofchurch.org We offer both our worship celebrations on a delayed broadcast by 2:00PM Sunday afternoon and, of course, any time following. If you are in the area, we worship at 8:30AM and 10:45AM. There’s always plenty going on along with good coffee and accompanying donuts of all sorts. Whatever draws you, I promise our worship is “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week.
My blog this week is more whimsical than theological. If you watch TV, you know that for the past two weeks the National Geographic channel has been pushing “Shark Fest” with a host of programming focused on shark information. It’s kind of their answer to the famous and eagerly watched “Shark Week” on another channel. Then everyone knows that beginning this Sunday, July 28th, going all week the Discovery channel has its annual “Shark Week.”
I mention this because I am amused by the constant barrage of data and hypothesis as to why sharks attack human beings. There seems to be almost as many different reasons and attempts at explanation as there are varieties of sharks. Despite a plethora of possibilities to explain why there are shark attacks on people, they seem to conclude each proposed answer with “they’re not quite sure all the data supports their conclusion. We need to explore further.” I’m betting that the programing on Shark Week will come to the same inconclusive possibilities. Those who aren’t sure represent an army of researchers, scientists, and experts of every walk of life. They likely spend millions of dollars and utilize a bevy of grants to do their theorizing and speculation. More power to them.
However, I would like to propose a thought. I am not an expert, a research specialist, or a scientist knowledgeable in a shark brand of ichthyology. I am a lowly pastor. Yet, my theory, if believed and accepted as fact, will devastate the scientific world that devotes itself to the study of sharks, researching with painful detail all shark attacks around the world to find an answer to the question — WHY? It could dry up millions of dollars in research grants and funds resulting in untold numbers of brilliant people losing their jobs. But here goes.
When one goes into any ocean, gulf or sea you become food. By going into the water human beings are no longer on the top of the food chain — they are food. Like beef from a steer, pork from a pig or chicken from a chicken is to us human beings, we become part of the menu for sharks upon entering the water right up there with seals, sardines, whales and garbage. For this reason, I do not swim in seas, oceans or otherwise. I do not wish to be eaten.
It seems totally illogical to get upset, angry or overwhelmed by a shark attack that severely injures or kills a person in the water. They chose to be there in their world. Sharks do not kill, injure or eat people on land. Well, they do in Sharknado movies, but they are just silly. And they are not real. Hold that thought.
If you want to swim in the ocean, ski or kayak, surf or snorkel, remember, you are now food. While the odds are you will go unscathed, having a wonderful time, don’t complain if on that certain day your luck runs out and you find yourself the entrée at the shark’s table. If one enters their world, you become gluten free food. Your choice.
Bon Appetite! And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Welcome to our Red Roof Church Blog for this week. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, and it is a joy to visit with you again. The folks at St. Paul would like to invite you to worship with us this Sunday at either 8:30 AM for our traditional celebration or at 10:45 AM for our contemporary worship. I can promise you that the Red Roof Church is a place Where God’s Word Is Heard every week. It just might be the spiritual home you’ve been looking for. Join us.
This week in our regular Thursday Bible Study classes (3 classes every Thursday at 8:00 & 10:00 AM and at 6:30 PM so anyone can fit it in their schedule to attend) as we explored the pressures the world is applying to our Christian faith, I was asked rather directly, “With all the trouble the church is dealing with, why do you do what you do, pastor?”
An interesting question, to say the least. It caused me to pause and think before responding. Why do I do what I do as I have been for the last 40 years as a pastor. Why to I continue to preach sermons, week after week, month after month, year after year even when I know the message is not being taken to heart with the frequency I would cherish? Why do I research, write, prepare & teach Bible study classes for the youth, for the adults, for new people to the church, and more on a regular basis? I answered slowly because there was no singular reason.
First, it is because I feel called by God to serve as a pastor with gifts, talents and abilities, He has provided for me to do so. But even more important is the fact I love the Lord and if this is His plan for my life I will accept His will. Second, I suppose I do it and have done it because it’s a living. While I have never gotten rich and don’t expect to start now, I have always been content because God has provided.
Third, and this can sometimes be a challenge. I love the people of this congregation that I serve as pastor. Even those who can be occasionally difficult (I can be too), are loved by me. Why? Because I want them to know the love of Christ and be able to spend eternity in heaven. So I preach God’s Word and I teach His Word to the best of my ability. I believe Scripture and I am passionate about sharing it.
My continual prayer is that God will allow me many more years of doing these very same things. After 40 years of preaching an untold number of sermons in the thousands and writing my own educational materials for all learning levels and then teaching that material in many more thousands of lessons and classes, I still love what I do.
It is that love that makes me unwilling to dilute His Word or compromise it in any way. When I am preparing for a sermon, any sermon, every sermon, I try to make sure I remain true to God’s intent and deliver a message that expresses the truth from the heart of Scripture. I know not everyone appreciates that since God’s Word can be tough. However, I love those He has given me to minister to, so I’m going to do the best I can with the gifts He has blessed me with to serve Him.
I’m the luckiest guy I know (even if there are those challenging days) because I get paid to do the work of a Christian pastor. I work with great people who are also dedicated to His service out of their love for the Lord. What’s not to love about my job, my career, my vocation?
And those are my thoughts and now you know more about me than maybe you wanted to know. Talk to you next week.
Greetings and blessings from the great people of the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. We invite you to join me, I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor, and the disciples of St. Paul to worship with us this weekend. We celebrate Christ every Sunday at 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM. Come by and join your friends and neighbors as we rejoice in God’s Word for our lives. You can be sure that this congregation is one “Where God’s Word Is Heard” without being diluted to fit in.
Karen and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary this past Wednesday. I made sure we could spend the day together. I also gave her the choice as to whether she wanted to go out for dinner at a nice restaurant or if I should do my magic in the kitchen and prepare a feast at home. She chose at home and dined on a large, succulent lobster, fresh baked French rolls, and tequila berry salad with house dressing (my cookbook). I willingly suffered with some beef tenderloin. All of which was accompanied by a quality bottle of cabernet from Becker vineyards. With the aid of some nice jewelry, a heart pendant with chain and a ring, my contract was renewed for another year and maybe even beyond if I continue to provide fine dining in the Harder household.
I could spend another 48 years with her and be as happy as anyone could be, but I don’t think my body will last out that long. Mind you, I pray every night by thanking God for the day and for this wonderful, loving woman that has graced me with her love for this long. ( I can be a challenge.) In addition, I am not bashful about asking for as many years as He will bless us with being together. As the saying goes, “Ain’t love grand!” With Karen, it is.
When I look at the state of marriage in our culture today, I am amazed at the fact we are still together. More than that, we are more in love with each other now that we were 48 years ago. Sure we had our fights years ago when we were younger and foolish, but today we seldom disagree, much less fight. In fact, we have our recliners positioned so that they are next to each other allowing us to actually hold hands while watching TV. Silly? Maybe to some. A joy for us? Absolutely! Should have done it years ago.
We got to this point in our marriage because God was with us and watched over us because we asked Him to be there and He was. He was there through the rough, poor years of marriage when we had to count pennies, through raising three kids and the decision for her to stay at home to bring them up right in a home where one parent was always there and the other was close by (Yes, it meant we couldn’t have all the stuff, go out every night, drive a new car, and more, but we didn’t care.), through one heart attack, almost dying & to a brain bleed that meant months of recovery, God was there for us. There’s more, but I think I made my point. Our marriage wasn’t just the union of one woman and one man, but a trinity of us with God ever present.
We worked at our marriage every day because we loved one another. We didn’t face the challenges alone, we had each other, but more importantly, we had God helping us, guiding us, loving us as we loved Him. I wonder if those getting married today have that kind of relationship with each other and with God? Why is the divorce rate in our country at 50% or more? A marriage takes effort to be successful and happy by both parties. It takes work.
This popular notion that after one gets marriage he can still have his friends, male and female, and she can have her friends, male and female, is a recipe for disaster. And don’t get me started on the insane idea that each partner in a marriage needs to have guy or gal time alone. That may come later, but it is a great way to build in a breakup in the early stages of a marriage when one should be focused on being of one flesh.
We always found that having “our” friends, usually other couples younger, our age, or older, proved a blessing that gave us people to share fun and fellowship with on a regular basis. We got to go out (to their home for cards and a meal or snacks along with some adult beverages) and to entertain (as they did the same at our house). It was fun, it was cheap, it built relationships.
Love in a marriage grows, but growth needs the proper care to become something extraordinary, something that stands the tests of time. Each level of a loving relationship is special and should be treasured, but it takes a while for couples just entering marriage time to learn that lesson. I can tell you about it, but until you have experienced it for yourself you probably won’t believe me. I cannot urge couples getting married today enough, make God a part of everything you do. Love each other with your heart and soul and mind and strength and, more importantly, God in the same ways. He won’t let you down.
And those are my thoughts.
Have a great week and God’s blessings.
Greetings in this week of Independence Day as we celebrate the birth of our nation. I’m Lee Harder, senior pastor at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas inviting you to join us this Sunday as we worship our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our worship celebrations are at 8:30AM and 10:45AM. St. Paul is a community of believers “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week and we would love to have you be a part of our family.
As we celebrate the 4th, hopefully you will be doing more than shooting off fireworks and having the backyard barbeque. It’s a good time to remember what this nation stands for and it definitely isn’t what too many ill-informed individuals are constantly spouting off about. As I mentioned a few weeks ago when I started this patriotic series of Vlogs, Thomas Jefferson clearly had a eye for the future and some of the problems that we are facing today. Let me share some of the quotes I ran across that have application to our issues today.
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." As the political parties are already trotting up their potential candidates, I am constantly hearing the word “FREE”. Free education, free medical care, free housing, and freedom from student debt to name but a few. Who pays for this FREE stuff? As someone who took out student loans for seminary, worked 50 plus hours a week as a janitor, did supply preaching throughout Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin at least two and often three weekends a month all on top of going to school full time, I don’t recall FREE entering the conversation. I also paid back my student loans and we helped out kids pay back theirs. Jefferson was right, our democracy will cease because those advocating a free lunch will always vote in the ones who will provide the Free card. Into that mix I will add another quote which says: "It is incumbent on every generation to pay its' own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on, would save one-half the wars of the world."
Here are two more quotes concerning our already bloated and constantly expanding government that Jefferson foresaw as a potential threat. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them.” and "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
Boy have we got too much government and this idiocy that we need more staggers even my imagination. Sadly, both parties are guilty despite claims to the contrary. I don’t need the government to be my mother or father. Maybe it’s long overdue that we set term limits on our elected officials in the Congress and Senate. They don’t seem to have the same integrity as that evil slave owner, George Washington (sarcasm on my part), when he set his own limits for the presidency. A wise, God-fearing man of profound wisdom he was. Unfortunately traits seemingly absent in our elected officials in Washington, D.C. who have become career parasites on the nation.
To those who desire to TAKE all the guns from the citizenry of this democracy, I offer these quotes from Jefferson. "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." and "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Just as our forefathers fought against the tranny of Great Britain when this nation was founded, it is not beyond the realm of imagination to realize the same necessity in our own times should the government come into the control of fanatics who are obsessed with ruling and not governing a free democracy of free people.
Should you have some doubts about such a thing happening, please note the vote in California recently to push religious institutions (I suspect Christian in particular) to accept the LGBT whatever communities sexual lifestyles as normal. In addition, any attempt to not embrace such understanding via literature, speech or activity would run contrary to the position of the state government probably opening up a series of lawsuits to rein in such attitudes. I think that qualifies as a government run amuck.
Remember what we celebrate on the 4th — freedom and liberty for all in a nation founded under God and His authority, guidance and blessing whether you believe it or not.
And those are my thoughts.
Have a great and safe 4th of July. God bless and keep your powder dry, your ears open, your eyes clear and your heart in God’s keeping.
Pastor Lee R. Harder